Clean lint from your clothes dryer
Built-up lint inside dryer cabinets causes more
than 15,000 fires every year. Lint escapes
through tiny gaps around the edges of the
dryer drum and falls into the cabinet, especially when
the exhaust vent or vent cap is clogged and airflow is
restricted. The lint can get ignited by electric heating
elements, gas burners or even a spark from the motor,
and the flames then travel through the lint-lined
exhaust vent. To make sure this doesn't happen in
your house, check the exhaust vent and the inside of
the cabinet frequently.
To clean the exhaust duct, shut off the gas and
unplug the dryer, then pull the dryer away from the
wall and disconnect the duct from the dryer. Use a
brush and a vacuum to remove the lint in the duct. If you have a flexible
duct (especially the plastic type!), replace it
with rigid metal duct.
To clean inside the dryer, unplug it and turn off
the gas, then open either the top or the front. The
procedure is the same for gas and electric dryers.
For dryers with a top lint filter and a solid front
panel, remove the lint filter and take out the two
screws on the side of the filter opening. Pull the top
forward (Photo 1). Disconnect the door-switch
wires in the front corner, remove the front screws
and drop the panel forward (Photo 2). The drum
will tip as the panel drops, but this won't damage
anything. Just hold it up while you clean.
Brush and vacuum under the drum and at the
top and back of the dryer. Clean thoroughly
around the heating element, but work gently
around wires and mechanical parts. Use a long
brush to clean the vent, then vacuum it from the
top and back (Photo 3).
Finally, reassemble the dryer. Put the front into
the drum and lift, then drop the front into the catches
near the bottom while holding it tight against the
sides. Reattach the front screws and wires, then set
the top back down.
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Cleaning technique if your dryer has a front access panel
For dryers with a removable front panel,
release the metal catches (or remove screws) and
pull the panel off (Photo 1). Remove the screws
that hold the vent in place, then clean out the
lint with a vacuum and brush (Photo 2).